Paul Winters, IFAD’s Associate Vice-President of the Strategy and Knowledge Department, gave an overview of the back ground and findings from IFAD’s rural development report and highlighted the key findings and messages from the report. He noted that the inspiration was drawn from the 2018 G20 meeting that during the process of making the IFAD report there was also a general lack of literature around rural youth and economic activities. Winters highlighted that rural youth face particular constraints stemming from the settings within which they reside, the current unprecedented rate of change in different aspects like environment or technology, constraints to skills and capacities, access to finance and land, and gender restrictions. He presented recommendations on what interventions need to be carried forward while emphasising that vocational skills and training alone may not be sufficient if there are no opportunities. Other recommendations included equipping young people with cognitive skills, collaborating with the private sector, and continuously engaging youth in discussions.
An interactive panel discussion followed that tackled key questions, for example, how to support job creation for millions of rural youth, make agriculture attractive again to youth, and empower rural youth. In her reflections and closing remarks, Cornelia Richter emphasized that there may be no shortcut when it comes to the topic of rural youth as it requires attention to creating an enabling environment, which also includes the personal dimension. Dominik Ziller, Director of International Development Policy and Governor for IFAD at BMZ, echoed that there may be no silver bullet when it comes to the opportunities for youth, but the topic requires support and acknowledgment. The event ended with an informal reception where participants interacted and networked with each other.